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"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 19th Nov 2020

Isolation Tips
'Students feel vulnerable': how Covid-19 has put a strain on mental health
From self-isolation with flatmates they barely know and halls of residences emptying out over lockdown to struggles to get the wifi to work for Zoom lectures, the start to the 2020 term has been riddled with uncertainty for most university students. Just one thing’s for sure: it’s been a strange few weeks. It’s perhaps unsurprising that students across campuses have been grappling with loneliness, anxiety and depression as a result of their experiences. “Students aren’t just disappointed that their university experience looks different in terms of teaching and learning, they’re also asking: ‘What does it mean for all the other things I wanted out of uni? The people I could have met? The sports and societies I could have joined?’” said Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, vice-president for higher education at the National Union of Students.
Lockdown loneliness reaches record levels
The week after the clocks went back saw Britain's highest levels of acute loneliness in the pandemic, Office for National Statistics figures suggest. The start of November, with darker evenings, saw 8% of adults who were "always or often lonely" - representing 4.2 million people. This was the peak in this measure of loneliness since the lockdown in March. Loneliness Minister Baroness Barran says the next few months will be "incredibly challenging"
One in 10 parents experienced severe burnout in lockdown - Canterbury University study
Parenting can be a demanding and stressful job at any time, but a pandemic can pile additional pressure on parents, new Canterbury University research shows. UC's Dr Cara Swit surveyed parents in New Zealand as part of a global study conducted in 15 countries to assess levels of parental burnout during Covid-19 lockdowns. She found that 10.5 per cent of parents in this country experienced high levels of parental burnout, which is defined as a combination of chronic stress, exhaustion, feeling like their parenting is not as good as it was, loss of pleasure or fulfilment in parenting, and emotional distancing from their children. “Any levels of parental burnout are concerning, so we need to understand the influences behind these figures and what can be done to support parents who are struggling,” Swit said.
New Zealand had great success in containing Covid-19, but public wellbeing paid a price
People worldwide have been experiencing high levels of distress during the Covid-19 pandemic. A New Zealand survey shows that, despite eliminating the virus, people's mental health took a knock. Researchers are encouraging governments to prioritise mental wellbeing during this time
Hygiene Helpers
Covid vaccines should not be seen as 'unicorn' solution, says WHO chief – video
Michael Ryan, the head of the World Health Organization’s emergencies programme, has said that while vaccines are effective tools, they are not the lone solution to ending the coronavirus pandemic. ‘Some people think that vaccines will be, in a sense, the solution, the unicorn we’ve all been chasing,’ he said during a virtual briefing in Geneva on Wednesday, warning other measures such as social distancing needed to be maintained. It comes after positive efficacy results from late-stage trials of two potential Covid-19 vaccines
COVID-19: People told to open windows this winter to decrease coronavirus risk
People are being encouraged to open their windows this winter to decrease the risk of catching coronavirus. The Department for Health has released a video showing how virus particles linger in enclosed spaces. It also shows how letting fresh air in can reduce the risk of infection by more than 70%. Coronavirus is spread through the air by droplets and smaller particles known as aerosols when they are exhaled from the nose and mouth of an infected person as they breathe, speak or cough.
Smoking causes three times as many cells to be infected with coronavirus, lab study suggests – despite array of research showing that it may cut the risk of getting COVID-19
UCLA researchers created models of human airways from donor stem cells Exposed some to smoke and compared impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection Found those exposed to cigarettes had three times as many cells infected Also discovered the smoke inhibits function of interferons which help the body fight the virus
Danish study finds face masks provide limited protection to wearer
A Danish study released on Wednesday found face masks provide the wearer with only limited protection against COVID-19 infection, but said this should not be used to argue against their widespread use to prevent people infecting others. In the study, which was carried out in April and May when Danish authorities did not recommend wearing face masks, 6,024 adults were divided into two groups, one wearing face masks and one control group.
Community Activities
Coronavirus: UK millennials shun city living amid move to remote working
Millennials are making a “radical move away from city-centre living” as the UK shifts towards remote working in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a new study has found. As living close to physical workplaces becomes less important, first and second time buyers are looking to get more for their money and are focusing on suburbs, market towns and villages to get a better deal and enjoy greater access to nature and outdoor space, according to new research by Credit Karma. Half of young people (49%) now hope to buy or rent outside of the town or city that they work in, according to the survey of over 1,000 UK adults.
'The cow can't tell my secrets' - UK care farms a lifeline during pandemic
Care farms nestled in the British countryside are providing a lifeline for people struggling with mental health during the pandemic, allowing them to swap therapy sessions on Zoom for the joys of fresh air, mucking out cow sheds and cuddling donkeys. With vital public services for vulnerable people shut down or reduced to video calls because of social distancing measures, care farms have been able to stay open as activities take place in wide open spaces. At Future Roots in the southern county of Dorset, 14-year-old Liam Holt has found that spending time outdoors working with animals and other people has had a transformational effect on his state of mind.
How a vaccine could upend real estate markets -- again
In just a matter of months the coronavirus pandemic dramatically changed the landscape of the housing market, especially in big cities. But now news of a promising vaccine could turn the market on its head again. Nationally, home prices have never been higher, driven up as surging demand due to record low mortgage rates comes up against historically low inventory of homes for sale. But the most expensive urban areas have been experiencing the opposite problem. Cities like New York and San Francisco have seen higher vacancy rates and lower rents and sale prices as many people, untethered from office jobs, retreated to the suburbs and less densely populated areas.
Working Remotely
Survey: More than 11% of American households plan to relocate as remote work persists
As many as 23 million Americans plan to relocate to a new city as working from home becomes more popular, according to a recent survey from online freelance company Upwork. More than 11% of households surveyed said they plan to move, implying U.S. migration rates will be three to four times higher than normal, according to Upwork, which polled 20,000 people for their report. These Americans are likely to move within the next year, said Adam Ozimek, Upwork’s chief economist.
Majority of German companies plan to 'focus more on remote working'
Nearly 70 percent of German companies have long-term plans for remote working, according to a new survey. Throughout the coronavirus crisis in Germany, many employees shifted to working from home. During the pandemic, 'Home Office' became not only more culturally acceptable, but encouraged when possible. But will employers will continue to embrace the trend even when the pandemic is over? According to a new survey by management consultants Deloitte, the answer is clear.
NI: JMK Solicitors embrace remote working across Europe
Staff at Belfast and Newry firm JMK Solicitors have been working remotely from across Europe during the Covid-19 pandemic. Izabella Andrzejewska, a member of the JMK graduate programme, has availed of the opportunity to work full-time from her home in Poland, around 1,500 miles away from Belfast. Ms Andrzejewska said: “After spending months in isolation here in Northern Ireland, I asked our team in JMK if it would be possible for me to take the computer and work for a couple of weeks from Poland. After a few days my partner and I were all packed and ready to fly home.”
You could get paid £7,500 to move to Arkansas and work remotely
The region of Northwest Arkansas is trying to attract new residents and it is offering people $10,000 (£7,500) and a free bike to move there. The Life Works Here initiative aims to bring new talent to the area, focusing on people who can work remotely. The council explains: ‘Northwest Arkansas has more than 10,000 job openings right now and has a shortage of talent to fill available STEAM jobs. We want to attract talent who will help us build a richer long-term talent pipeline that supports our thriving local economy.
Working from home has offered people a glimpse of how things could be different
I had begun to forget the sensation of hope. This is the year that I scaled hopefulness back: it became bread in the oven or bulbs in the ground – small packages of potential, just significant enough to give the soul a little lift. Then, the news of not one, but two pioneering vaccines, and hope rustled its feathers again. After months of making future promises for “when this is all over”, it seems that it could, one day, be over.
Now is the time to invest in remote working
With such a dispersed workforce likely to remain the status quo for the foreseeable future, the charity sector must look towards remote working solutions in order to build sustainable operations.
Strategy on remote working to be published - Tánaiste
The Government is to publish a new strategy on remote working before the end of the year, which will include proposals for a country-wide network of digital hubs, as well as new tax and expense arrangements. Speaking during a Dáil debate on a Labour Private Members' Bill aimed at enhancing protections for employees who are working remotely, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said it was essential that the costs of working from home were borne in a fair way.
Virtual Classrooms
7 College Students on the Joys (+ Nightmares) of Virtual Learning
For most of the country’s universities right now, digital learning is the name of the game—which got us thinking: What’s it really like inside these virtual classrooms? We spoke with several college students who dished on the high highs and low lows of transitioning to remote curriculums.
Students call for lowered tuition amidst online school
Students who may have envisioned their post-secondary experience sitting in lecture halls, forming in-person connections with their professors or joining clubs are now experiencing all of university through a computer screen. While some may have accepted the fate of online school—particularly the fact that it costs the same as the in-person alternative—some students are letting their university administrations know they aren’t happy. Jasmine Doobay-Joseph, who is in her second year of the cognitive science program at Carleton, is one such student. In June, she started an online petition after being unsatisfied with her winter semester, which moved online due to COVID-19.
Fairfax delays in-person instruction as Virginia teachers’ groups ask Northam to return state to all-virtual school
Virginia’s largest school system is pausing plans to return thousands of children to classrooms — an announcement that came the same day Northern Virginia teachers’ unions urged Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to switch the state to online-only learning. Fairfax County Public Schools, which serves 186,000 students, was supposed to send 6,800 pre-kindergartners, kindergartners and special education students back into school buildings on Tuesday. They would have joined the roughly 8,000 young children, special education students, and career and technical students who have already returned to classrooms.
Public Policies
Putin admits he is ‘alarmed’ by Russia’s spike in Covid-19 deaths and says officials ‘cannot pretend all is fine’
Putin said the rising death rate was 'alarming' after record 456 fatalities today Russia has stopped short of imposing strict new measures like much of Europe In a further blow, smoke was seen billowing from a major hospital in Russia today
COVID-19: 'High priority' procurement for firms recommended by MPs and advisers
Companies recommended by MPs, peers and advisers were given priority to win government contracts as it scrambled to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, the public spending watchdog has found. A National Audit Office (NAO) investigation into pandemic procurement concludes that normal standards of transparency were waived as departments awarded 8,600 contracts worth £18bn to tackle COVID-19. Deals worth £10.5bn were granted without competitive tender.
Covid-19 vaccine: who are countries prioritising for first doses?
Hope that the first effective vaccines against Covid-19 could begin being distributed late this year or early in 2021 has led countries, including the UK, to announce who will be vaccinated first. While the World Health Organization has set out general guidelines for vaccination priority, different countries have set their own criteria. That includes the United States, where the Centers for Disease Control’s Vaccination Program interim playbook, issued at the end of last month, identified minority ethnic groups – who have been shown to be more susceptible as a potential “critical population” – for priority consideration along with care homes, prisons and psychiatric facilities residents and workers, health workers and the over-65s and those with pre-existing conditions.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott won’t order lockdown as coronavirus cases rise
The last time case numbers were this high, Abbott closed bars and urged Texans to avoid summer holiday gatherings. This time, he's staying the course, relying on a 2-month-old blueprint to claw back reopenings regionally based on hospitalizations.
Ban household-mixing and travel between tiers after lockdown, BMA urges
Mixing between more than two households and travel between tiers should be banned in England until a vaccine is rolled out to prevent the NHS being swamped after lockdown, the main doctors’ organisation has warned. With ministers due to announce next week a return to regional tiers of coronavirus restrictions from 2 December, the British Medical Association (BMA) said that without tough action, hospitals and GPs will become overwhelmed. A BMA report argues that robust measures will be needed until an effective vaccine is widely available, and that ministers must learn from what it called the over-lax exit from the last lockdown.
Poor areas of England face 'permanent' lockdown, says public health chief
Some of England’s poorest areas face being trapped in coronavirus restrictions “permanently” unless the government tackles deep-rooted inequalities that are driving high transmission, according to a public health chief. Prof Dominic Harrison, the director of public health at Blackburn with Darwen council, said the government’s “pointlessly punishing” approach would keep areas such as his under strict measures up to next summer. He told the Guardian: “We do need the restrictions, but what we need is something that is going to be more effective, more helpful, less pointlessly punishing than continued controls that aren’t going to be effective, or that are unlikely to be effective in the medium term and cause continued and further economic damage.”
Covid: Plaid Cymru calls for extra support for infection hotspots
People self-isolating in Covid hotspots should be given a "topped-up" grant of £800, Plaid Cymru has said. It wants a package of extra support for ex-industrial areas with high infection rates, such as Merthyr Tydfil, Blaenau Gwent and Rhondda Cynon Taf. These areas, the party said, should be prioritised for mass testing, with more resources for test and trace teams. Ministers said they had put national support measures in place and provided an extra £15.7m for contact tracing. Anyone in Wales is able to claim £500 if they have to stay off work due to coronavirus.
Tokyo to raise alert as Japan sets daily record with 2000-plus COVID-19 cases
Japan set a daily record with more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases — including a new high of 493 in the capital — on Wednesday, following reports Tokyo was expected to raise its virus alert to the highest level Thursday amid an ongoing surge of infections. Prior to Wednesday, record nationwide tallies had been reported for three consecutive days through Saturday, with the figure hitting 1,737 on that day. While the final figure for Wednesday was yet to be confirmed, local media tallies showed the figure had risen above the 2,000 threshold. But much of the focus has been on the capital and the surge in cases there. While raising the virus alert level, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government may also call on businesses to close early, according to local media reports.
‘Hope for easing of lockdown over Christmas ‘as ministers plan brief relaxation of Covid restrictions’
In England, families may be able to mix in “bubbles” at Christmas under plans for a brief relaxation of coronavirus restrictions over the festive period, according to reports. Britons could get up to five days of loosened measures starting from December 24 under the new proposals reportedly being considered by ministers. Government chiefs are also considering allowing families made up of up to two or three households to meet for Christmas. It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wanted to “ensure people can spend time with close family over Christmas”.
South Australia introduces 6-day lockdown as COVID-19 'circuit-breaker'
The South Australian government has announced comprehensive restrictions under a six-day lockdown as it fights to stamp out a coronavirus cluster. Universities, pubs, cafes and food courts will be at a standstill, and schools will be closed to everyone but vulnerable children and children of essential workers as of midnight Wednesday, local time.
Ireland has only one way to avoid entering third lockdown
The whole of Europe is in a disastrous second wave of Covid-19 and a second lockdown. On past experience, it is likely to head into a third wave and third lockdown in January, which will bring further and unimaginable damage to us all, and a collapse of confidence in our medical advisers and governments. Vaccines and anti-virals will not arrive in time to avoid this catastrophe, and any talk of significant relaxation of guidelines for Christmas is highly irresponsible. We must go further and face the fact that the European policy of living with Covid-19 is wrong.
Turkey says additional coronavirus measures will take effect from Nov. 20
Turkey said on Wednesday new coronavirus measures limiting the working hours of restaurants and cafes and introducing a partial lockdown on weekends will take effect from the evening of Nov. 20, according to an interior ministry statement. Restaurants, cafes, shopping malls and hairdressers will only be allowed to operate from 0700 GMT to 1700 GMT, the statement said, while restaurants and cafes will only be open for takeaway and delivery services. Under the new curbs, which will take effect from 1700 GMT on Friday, cinemas will be closed for the rest of the year. The government said on Tuesday it would impose tighter coronavirus measures as cases surged in recent weeks. Ankara reported 3,819 new symptomatic cases on Tuesday and 103 COVID-19 deaths in the country, taking the total death toll to 11,704.
French government spokesman says: unwinding lockdown not for now
French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday that the unwinding of lockdown was not for the near future. Attal also told reporters that President Emmanuel Macron would address the nation next week regarding the coronavirus situation in France.
Dutch PM Rutte: coronavirus lockdown to continue into December
Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Tuesday said most of the country’s current coronavirus lockdown measures must remain in place through mid-December, despite a recent decline in the number of new cases. “It’s nice what we’ve achieved together,” Rutte said at a press conference after health officials reported that new cases had declined 15 percent in the past week. “But if you look around in Europe, the picture is pretty sombre”, he said, with most countries strengthening rather than loosening measures. Earlier on Tuesday the National Institute for Health (RIVM) said in its weekly update there were 37,706 new cases in the week to Nov. 17, the smallest number since early October.
Maintaining Services
'A catastrophic situation': COVID-19 threatens to overwhelm Canada's health system
In July, the Canadian province of Manitoba went two weeks without a single new case of COVID-19. Theaters and casinos reopened and children soon returned to school. By October, the 1.4 million people living in a province only slightly smaller geographically than Texas had Canada’s highest rate of active cases - now 512 per 100,000 people, or nearly quadruple the national rate. “In a couple of weeks, we’re going to be in a catastrophic situation,” said Dr. Anand Kumar, a Manitoba intensive care physician.
Brutal Covid second wave exposes Italy's shortage of intensive care staff
Italian hospitals are struggling with a shortage of intensive care specialists as the country battles a severe coronavirus second wave, while some citizens are also turning against health workers. Covid-related deaths rose by 731 on Tuesday – the highest daily toll since early April, when Italy was in complete lockdown – and by 753 on Wednesday, as weaknesses in the healthcare system across the country become more exposed. According to a study by Johns Hopkins University in the US, Italy has recorded four deaths per 100 infections - the third highest rate in the world. Tuesday’s count equated to one death every two minutes. Admissions to intensive care units have almost doubled to 3,612 since 1 November and the number of people in hospital with coronavirus – 33,074 – has eclipsed that reached during the first wave.
Is lockdown working? London businesses urge Government to give city a chance amid claims curbs are helping
In England, lockdown is starting to work in the battle against Covid-19, a Cabinet minister claimed today, as business chiefs appealed for London to be given a chance to recover when restrictions are lifted. Official data is understood to show that the number of coronavirus infections in the community in England is still growing but less quickly in recent weeks. Business chiefs warned that London must be put into a tier which will allow the city to reopen. Jace Tyrrell, who is chief executive of New West End Company, said: “Our hope is that the Government will recognise that the capital can be safely and sustainably reopened for business from December 3.
German police fire water cannons at protesters as thousands gather in Berlin anti-lockdown rally
Thousands gathered at Brandenburg Gate to protest covid restrictions in Germany as case numbers rose. Police used water cannons to break up the huge crowds with some protesters throwing flares. Demonstration came as government debated a bill that would make mask wearing, social distancing and shop closures enforceable by law
Panic-buying across South Australia as state goes into lockdown
Adelaide residents have started panic-buying in supermarkets after Premier Steven Marshall announced a six-day coronavirus lockdown. South Australia is battling a cluster of 22 cases in the city's northern suburbs and will introduce the harshest restrictions the country has seen to slow the spread from midnight. The lockdown - described as 'extreme' by state chief health officer Nicola Spurrier - bans residents from leaving home for exercise and allows one shopping trip per household a day.
'Where there's a will there's a way' as English doctors prepare COVID vaccine roll-out
English doctors are grappling with the prospect of seven-day service, -75 degree Celsius freezers and vaccines known as “Talent” and “Courageous” as they prepare for an unprecedented logistical challenge: the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccinations. Health minister Matt Hancock has set a target for England’s National Health Service that it should be ready to administer vaccines by Dec. 1, although he has said his central expectation is for the bulk of the roll-out to happen next year. Any distribution of vaccines would also require approval from the country’s medical watchdog, the MHRA. On Wednesday, NHS England medical director Stephen Powis confirmed that general practitioners (GPs), pharmacies and large-scale inoculation centres could all be involved in the vaccine roll-out, adding more details would be given in the coming days
Japan to monitor virus cases, hospitals before any emergency declaration decision
Japan will not immediately declare a health emergency following a record rise in coronavirus cases, and will continue to monitor infection rates and the capacity of hospitals to cope, the government’s chief spokesman said on Thursday. “We will respond appropriately based on conditions,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a regular press briefing. Coronavirus infections in Japan hit a record daily high of 2,201 cases on Wednesday, public broadcaster NHK reported. Almost a quarter of those were in Tokyo, which is expected to raise its pandemic alert level on Thursday, according to local media reports.
Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveries could start 'before Christmas'
Pfizer Inc PFE.N and BioNTech 22UAy.DE could secure emergency U.S. and European authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine next month after final trial results showed it had a 95% success rate and no serious side effects, the drugmakers said on Wednesday. The vaccine’s efficacy was found to be consistent across different ages and ethnicities - a promising sign given the disease has disproportionately hurt the elderly and certain groups including Black people. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration could grant emergency-use by the middle of December, BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin told Reuters TV. Conditional approval in the European Union could be secured in the second half of December, he added.
Conspiracy Video Goes Viral in Threat to France’s Vaccine Push
A documentary questioning the purpose of coronavirus vaccines has gone viral in France after endorsements from politicians and celebrities, some of whom later withdrew their support. “Hold Up” got more than 4 million views on Google’s YouTube and other platforms over a couple of days last week, helped along on social media by public figures including lawmakers, former First Lady Carla Bruni--Sarkozy and actor Sophie Marceau. Suspicions over the safety and effectiveness of vaccines are widespread in France. In a study released this week by the liberal think tank Fondation Jean-Jaures, 43% of respondents said they would refuse to get a shot -- 7 percentage points more than in the U.S., and twice as many as in the U.K.
Covid Stalks U.S. Nursing Homes Again With Pandemic Redoubling
The tip of the coronavirus spear is piercing the country’s long-term care facilities again in a surge that underscores the nation’s repeated failure to protect its most vulnerable. States reported over 29,000 new infections last week in places such as nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, the steepest uptick since at least May, according to Covid Tracking Project data. They come as national daily case counts were higher than ever in November, with a record of more than 170,000 new cases reported Nov. 13.
Covid: New York City closes all schools amid virus spike
New York City has been ordered to close its schools from Thursday, amid a Covid-19 spike. The decision to close the US's largest public school system comes as positive test rates for the virus surpassed the 3% threshold, officials say. It will affect some 300,000 children. New York, where 35,000 residents have died with coronavirus, was the epicentre of the outbreak in the US in the spring. It now appears to be facing a new wave. The US has more infections and more deaths from the virus than any other nation, and has reported record levels of cases in recent days.
Healthcare Innovations
UK COVID-19 Update: BMA's Lockdown Exit Plan, 'Exciting' Vaccine News
The BMA has issued a strategy document for England's exit from the current lockdown on 3 December. It says measures are needed to bridge the gap until widespread vaccination. Recommendations include: Reforming Test and Trace with more local involvement - Replacing the 'rule of six' with a two household rule for social mixing - Banning travel between different tier levels - Targeted support for clinically extremely vulnerable people and those from at-risk backgrounds, such as BAME communities
Cipla launches 'Covi-G' for COVID-19 rapid antibody detection
Cipla Limited today announced that it signed a licensing agreement with a Belgium-based firm, Multi G for the distribution of their COVID-19 Rapid Antibody test kit, across most Emerging markets and Europe. This licencing agreement is part of Cipla's efforts to enhance global access to life- saving treatments and diagnostic infrastructure for patients in need. As part of this agreement, Cipla will be responsible for distribution of the COVID-19 rapid antibody kit that will be manufactured by MultiG. It is marketed under the brand name 'Covi-G',this was among the earliest Antibody kits to declare CE-compliance and is awaiting approval by ICH country regulators. It has been commercialised in 20+ countries already, with sensitivity and specificity exceeding 92%. It tests for both IgM and IgG antibodies, using a single-prick blood test using of the test result indicator visual interpretation. The kit gives results within 10 minutes.
Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine 95% Effective in Final Results, Company to Seek Approval Within Days
Pfizer Inc. said it will ask health regulators to authorize its experimental Covid-19 vaccine within days, after reporting the shot was 95% effective in its pivotal study and showed signs of being safe. The company’s plans, announced Wednesday, mean the shot is on track to go into distribution by the end of the year, if the regulators permit.
Covid-19: Chinese vaccine 'successful in mid-stage trials'
A Covid-19 vaccine developed in China has shown success in mid-stage trials, researchers say. There are several vaccines being developed in China, some of which are already being administered. According to the researchers, the Sinovac Biotech vaccine led to a quick immune response during trials with around 700 people. The announcement comes after European and US vaccines reported successful data from large late-stage trials. Three vaccines, developed in the US, Germany and Russia, have all released data suggesting efficiency of more than 90%, after trials with tens of thousands of people.
Pfizer ends its COVID-19 vaccine trial with a 95% success rate
Pfizer Inc PFE.N and BioNTech 22UAy.DE could secure emergency U.S. and European authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine next month after final trial results showed it had a 95% success rate and no serious side effects, the drugmakers said on Wednesday. The vaccine’s efficacy was found to be consistent across different ages and ethnicities - a promising sign given the disease has disproportionately hurt the elderly and certain groups including Black people. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration could grant emergency-use by the middle of December, BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin told Reuters TV. Conditional approval in the European Union could be secured in the second half of December, he added.
'Incredible milestone for science.' Pfizer and BioNTech update their promising COVID-19 vaccine result
As opposed to the vague initial report last week that their vaccine had greater than 90% efficacy, Pfizer and BioNTech are providing more specific data now that the study has reached enough COVID-19 cases to end. In all, the trial had 162 confirmed cases of symptomatic COVID-19 in the placebo group versus eight among those who received the two scheduled doses of the vaccine. The efficacy, which was measured 7 days after the second dose of the vaccine, was the same in different races and ethnicities, the companies say—although subgroup analyses always have more uncertainty. Nine of the 10 people who had severe cases of COVID-19 during the trial received the placebo, which indicates that even if the vaccine fails to prevent symptomatic disease, it still offers powerful protection from serious harm. No serious side effects surfaced, the companies report, although 3.7% of the vaccinated reported fatigue after the injections.
Early trial results show Sinovac vaccine triggers immune response
Sinovac Biotech’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac triggered a quick immune response but the level of antibodies produced was lower than in people who had recovered from the disease, early trial results showed on Wednesday. While the early to mid-stage trials were not designed to assess the efficacy of CoronaVac, researchers said it could provide sufficient protection, based on their experience with other vaccines and data from preclinical studies with macaques.
A rapid at-home covid-19 test — for under $50 — just got FDA approval
People who think they were exposed to the coronavirus face a number of logistical obstacles in the United States to get tested: Many tests take days to produce results, require leaving quarantine to visit a medical professional, or — most likely — both. That could change with Lucira Health’s “All-In-One” test kit, which on Tuesday became the first rapid, at-home test authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.